The reviews are in, and Bush's 5th State of the Union Address is a smash hit. A poll by CNN showed a huge impact on viewer perceptions of the War in Iraq (78% think it's heading in the right direction) and Social Security reform (66% approval). An amazing 86% had a positive or very positive reaction.
Howard Fineman "saw a man at the top of his game". Alessandra Stanley at the New York Times says Bush was "buoyant". Says Matthew Cooper at Time: "Bush remains not only passionate but very smart." From an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle: "President Bush last night officially to put to rest any doubt about his willingness to tread boldly into his second term."
Most observers have similar sentiments. I continue to be euphoric about George W. Bush's sweeping calls for freedom and an end to tyranny. Rhetoric matters, and Bush is pushing hard at those nations that are attempting to resist democracy's call. Even some Bush critics are coming around on Iraq after the stirring scenes of the Sunday past, and the hardest heart had to be moved by the passionate hug between an Iraqi woman who last her father and an American mother who lost her son, in the most worthwhile of all causes.
There are some things worth dying for, and some things worth living for, and President Bush understands the need to articulate both. Bush's awkwardness in delivering extemporaneous remarks has been widely noted. His prepared speeches have at times approached perfection. Great job by the speechwriters, and excellent delivery by the president - for the first time, I think Social Security reform has a real chance of passage.